When we ask the question “What’s next?”, it seems to show that we recognize ourselves in a journey of anticipating the next stage, but are we?
Shouldn’t we ask the question to the Church, the body of Christ: Do we know that we have always been on a journey of the Christianity movement started by Jesus Christ?
We will move ahead whether we are prepared or not. But what are we expecting? Is it only our wish to see the “old normal” resumed or is it to see God’s kingdom being “in operation” more explicitly? I would certainly like to see churches awakened to visualize God’s kingdom come, but in the midst of this I recognize there are both opportunities and threats.
Many talk about the borderless church made available by technology and the extensive power to reach geographical locations we could have never imagined.
These cyber seminars, trainings, teachings etc. undoubtedly pull our pastors and church members out to see a broader community of Christians, bringing awareness of the unified body of Christ instead of just focusing on local church business.
But the church needs to see welcoming and ministering to refugees, new immigrants, and international students as mandatory according to the church tradition rooted in the Mosaic law of commanding the Israelites to love the aliens, with orphans and widows being the other two of the cardinal trio.
Refugees and new immigrants are not accidentals, and these students are the gems for global discipleship yet to be discovered.
Diaspora churches are not secondary compared to main-stream churches but are part of the beautifully woven display of Christ’s eschatological community. They are all part of God’s strategy to mobilize the world for his redemptive purpose.
If the church misses this opportunity, she will continue to operate in the “old” administrative, programmatic, corporative, and self-satisfying ministry without seeing what God is doing to actualize his kingdom coming.
We see in the apostle Paul’s many letters that he was a diligent worker in bringing Christians of different values together. His intention was to bring the Christianity movement forward without being hindered by a disunity hurdle.
Today, we have already seen different schools of theology, values, traditions, and various forms of missional works happening, but I see a potentially dangerous threat that will jeopardize our unity in Christ. Recent political events have caused many Christians to argue and fight. When ideologies and personal biases blend in with politics plus religious stigma, Christians are confused where to stand.
We seem to forget that God’s authority overrides all. But what does it look like to live out God’s authority? It is just keeping quiet under persecution and being a good martyr? Or should we play hardball to resist anything that is antithetic to God’s sovereignty? How do we accept Christians who hold political and ideological views different from us?
The two witnesses in Revelation 11 symbolize a very important truth. Yes, God will judge with periodic signs, but the most powerful way to advance God’s redemptive purpose is through the witnessing of the redeemed in their day-to-day transformation by the Holy Spirit. When we all live out obedience to Christ and meet with resistance, oppression, and even persecution, we are showing the authority of God’s kingdom.
On Mission with God
What’s next is a big question. We may not know the next step, but do we know the right direction? Like Steve Hawthorne et al. said, God provides direction and not a detailed road map.
I know “what’s next” is that God will continue to accomplish his redemption through his redeemed people, even though I do not see the details.
I do know, though, if more Christians are aware their role on earth is to be on mission with God, the great commission will eventually be a reality, not an ideal!
Alfred Chui practiced physical therapy for over 25 years before he joined North Edmonton Alliance Church in 2009, first as the English pastor & then in 2013 as the senior pastor. In 2019, Alfred & his wife Charis relocated to Richmond, B.C. and Alfred joined Outreach Canada in July 2019 as the Simply Mobilizing (SM) Canada Chinese Language Coordinator - implementing, maintaining and expanding the Kairos and other SM courses to mobilize Canadian Chinese diaspora Christians and their next generations to reach and disciple all nations.